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BY Joel Junker
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Should You Be Exclusive With A JMO Recruiting Firm?

The prevailing advice for junior military officers (JMOs) is that if you are going to use a recruiting firm, do not exclusively commit to just one firm. Now, this logic is solid if you consider that most recruiting firms don’t invest in JMOs ahead of time or spend as much of an effort matching them with quality companies and positions. With this type of relationship, there is a low level of commitment and investment between the recruiting firm and the JMO candidate.  This situation then leads to something closer to a job fair (where candidates and companies are exploring one another and/or there are instances of mismatched company requirements and candidate interests).  Because there is a lot of variability in this method, the advice to work with as many recruiting firms as possible makes sense.

Cameron-Brooks is different. We have a Partnership Agreement where we ask the JMO candidate to refrain from sending out resumes, creating profiles or contacting companies/recruiting firms for the purposes of setting up interviews until after our Career Conference.  Candidates often claim to understand the Partnership Agreement as “a way to earn a return of investment with their candidates”. Yes, we are a for-profit business, but I can honestly say in my 20 years at Cameron-Brooks, I have never heard anyone say this or even allude to the transactional nature of this assumption.  We are a relationship based recruiting firm, not transactional.

We have a Partnership Agreement because our goal is to assist our candidates in a career search.  How does a career search differ from what I described as a job fair?  First, when we host a Conference, our candidates interview for positions and with companies specifically matched to their background and interests.  No two candidates will have the same exact interview schedule.  Second, our companies attend with open positions that we vet to ensure they utilize the JMOs strengths and have upside promotional potential. Over 95% of our companies send their hiring manager(s) to the Conference, meaning candidates interview with decision makers. These are not general screening interviews.  Vice President of Sales and Sales Managers interview for their open sales roles, Plant Managers and VP Of Operations interview for open Manufacturing Team Leader roles, and Partners and Senior Managers interview for Senior Consultant positions with consulting firms.  The companies are committed as well.  The reason they attend with these open and developmental roles with hiring managers is because of the Agreement.  It takes the variability out of their process too.

A concern I hear from JMOs is a fear of missing out on other opportunities if they partner with Cameron-Brooks.  I understand this as we do not represent every company and opportunity out there; however, I have several comments on this:

With today’s technology, JMOs have an easier time networking and identifying opportunities.  However, there is a big difference between interviewing for open positions with decision makers versus creating activity where you have phone calls and emails from companies that may or may not lead to a final interview.

If you ask our alumni, they will tell you that the opportunities they interviewed with at Cameron-Brooks impressed them.  I often hear, “I never even knew companies or positions like this existed,” or, “I did not even know I was qualified for this,” and in one podcast, C-B Alumnus Josh Halu said, “The real fear of missing out is not attending the Conference and fully exploring your whole marketability.”

What does a JMO get out of the Partnership Agreement then?

  • World-class interview preparation and career guidance based on over 50 years’ experience.
  • A trusted advisor that will take time to get to know the JMO candidate’s interests and skill set and uniquely match them with opportunities at the Conference.
  • An average of 10-12 interviews at a Conference with leading companies and development positions.
  • Interviews for open positions with decision makers, with a mutual purpose between the candidate and company. This is very different than a job fair type of atmosphere where candidates and companies exchange resumes and recruiting brochures but aren’t really interviewing.
  • Candidates average 4 onsite follow up interviews over 18 working days after the Conference. This allows them to compare their options and make an educated career choice.
  • Ongoing career mentoring and coaching for their entire career. We are lifelong career partners.

Finally, I often get asked if the candidate signs anything.  The answer is no.  Our partnership is a verbal agreement and commitment that is built on trust. We take our commitment to the partnership very seriously. We are truly career search partners.